Trip reports

Amwell Nature Reserve

Amwell Nature Reserve
Bittern by Andy Hay,RSPB Images

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust's Nature Reserve at Amwell was a former flooded gravel pit and is a very special place for wildlife. It is a "Special Protection Area" because of the internationally important populations of ducks, which come here during the winter to escape the freezing conditions in their breeding grounds in northern Europe.

This Sunday, Valentine's Day, was cold but many of us wrapped up and came in search of maybe something special. Before we even started our walk, we were rewarded with two great spotted woodpeckers chasing each other - love was certainly in the air! With wonderful views walking beside the lake we were soon seeing herons, cormorants and a good variety of ducks but were thrilled to see Goldeneye (at least two or three males) and smew (one male and two female). We slowly made our way to the hides, observing amongst other things, close views of long tailed tits. At the White Hide some of our party had had a quick glance of the bittern so when we were all gathered, eyes, bins and scopes were glued to the reeds to hopefully catch another glimpse. Wow were we rewarded! Not only did some of us spot a bittern through the reeds but then another bittern flew a few feet low over the water, stop in front of the reeds and then once again disappear. It was certainly the highlight of our trip. With a spring in our step and a joy in our hearts we made our return, ending with a kestrel looking down on us. What a wonderful Valentine's Birding Day.

Weather: Cold but dry (before we set out it had snowed but not settled)


Yvonne Ragworthy



Listing of birds seen on our visit

Bittern
Blackbird
Bunting reed
Chaffinch
Coot
Cormormant
Crow carrion
Gadwall
Golden eye
Goose Canada
Grebe great crested
Greenfinch
Gull black-headed
Gull common
Gull lesser black-backed
Heron Grey
Kestrel
Lapwing
Mallard
Moorhen
Pheasant
Pochard
Redpoll lesser
Redwing
Robin
Shoveler
Siskin
Smew
Snipe
Sparrowhawk
Starling
Swan mute
Teal
Thrush song
Tit blue
Tit great
Tit long-tailed
Tufted duck
Wigeon
Woodpecker great spotted
Woodpigeon
Wren